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Colin McCawley

Mrs. Carter
AP Literature
March 2014
Poisonwood Bible: Effects of Narrative Techniques
Barbra Kingsolver tells her story, The Poisonwood Bible, from the point of view of five
completely different characters. This effectively covers many aspects of the story, as well as
gives us a more rounded view of the characters.
Kingsolver uses the Mother of the four girls to give her recollection of the events from the
future looking back on the past. Giving us foreshadow on Ruth Mays death as well as other
disasters that take place leading to the demise of the Price family. The daughters tell the events
as they actually unfold. Giving us insight on what happened to them in the Congo. This gives the
reader the chance to sympathies with the mother as she tells her side of the story while the
reader watches it play out from the eyes of other characters. The daughters accounts of events
that happen over lap giving you a different angle on the some of the same situations. From
these different angles the reader is able to form a better picture of the characters and associate
themselves with them. The actions Leah might make through Rachels point of view may be
unclear and pointless. But when read from Leahs point of view you understand the rationality
she had for the situation.
Comment [CM1]: This would be changed to one
line to match the guidelines for the paper
Comment [CM2]: The paragraph would be
Comment [CM3]: The aspects of the story would
be more explained with examples
Comment [CM4]: Indent
Comment [CM5]: Lower case
Comment [CM6]: Sentence fragment that would
be revised and changed.
Comment [CM7]: Another vague sentence
fragment that could be changed and expanded on
Comment [CM8]: Sympathize
Comment [CM9]: Daughters
Comment [CM10]: overlap
Comment [CM11]: I would be more specific
here rather than dancing around the evidence that
would form a stronger argument for my paper
Comment [CM12]: Third person is being used so
this must be changed to the reader
Comment [CM13]: Be more specific
The best use of these multiple camera angles is the development of Nathans character. Each
of the five women sees him a different way and has their own separate opinions on him.
However Kongsolver did not give Nathan a point of view. The reader must use the angles of the
women to view the whole picture of Nathan Price. It effectively creates the picture of the cold,
stern, and oppressive character of Nathan. Showing Nathan as the controller of the show as it
wildly spins out of control through his disconnection.

This writing style also fits in with the religious theme of the book. The Poisonwood Bible is
separated in to different books, much like the Bible. Each book contains different stories of the
events that took place with Nathan and the Congo. This parallels to the Bible and its stories of
God. Although it seems that Nathan fits more into the Old Testament rather than the new. The
Poisonwood Bible lives up to its name by the nasty affects Nathan leaves on his family.

Comment [CM14]: Indent
Comment [CM15]: her
Comment [CM16]: of
Comment [CM17]: Fragment
Comment [CM18]: indent
Comment [CM19]: Bible
Comment [CM20]: Underline Title